By Akshay Bhansali
It’s one of the hottest topics in the electronic dance music world. As a result of EDM’s recent surge in popularity, what exactly it means to DJ has become a much-debated topic.
With deadmau5 confessing that DJs just “press play,” A-trak encouraging DJs to challenge themselves and our colleague Jacob at Dancing Astronauts issuing a heartfelt DJ “Call-Out,” we recently had a very frank conversation with an electronic music legend, who broke down his thoughts on the art of DJ’ing.
Our good friends at Surrender Nightclub in Las Vegas helped MTV News catch up with Eric Prydz, who just launched into the states in support of is new collection, Eric Prydz Presents Pryda. Here’s what the legend had to say!
“I think you need to look at what is ’a DJ set’ and what is a ’live show,'” Prydz told MTV News. “If you do a live show, everything needs to be synchronized and it’s very hard to go and do a big show where you have your fireworks and you have your visuals and you have your projection cubey stuff, to go up there and improvise. These big shows that you see today, it’s not about performing, as such. It’s more that you go up there and you show them what you have been performing in the studio, you know, ’cause that’s where a lot of these people shine.”
He continued, “It’s not that much about going onstage and doing something amazing, like juggling with ten balls at the same time. It is actually about just pressing play, I think. Obviously, you will have some control and you can change the music in real time, but it’s not like you’re standing there and playing all the instruments at the same time.”
Prydz believes that actual DJ’ing is very different from what goes on at the large-scale live productions many acts are putting on.
“DJ’ing is something totally different. For me, DJ’ing is turning up to a place not knowing what you are going to play at all. You read the crowd, you kind of say…’OK, I’m going to start with this track, so I think they’re gonna like that, and just take it from there,’ and try to build and build and build over a longer period of time,” Prydz told MTV News. “It’s not the festival thing, where you turn up and play a one hour set, but you have two, three, four, five, even six hours. You can build and atmosphere and just drive people crazy, you know? And that, there’re not that many DJs these days that can play in that certain way. I think DJs like Sasha and John Digweed were the pioneers of that and they’ve been a massive inspiration for me. Instead of playing track after track, you know, the big track, the big track, the big track, they use pieces of music as pieces of bricks to build something even bigger. It’s two different things: The kind of big live production thing and the actual DJ side of things.”